MT. ULLA — West Rowan sophomore Khaila Hall is going to score a bunch of points.
The challenge for new coach Ashley Poole is going to be finding enough points from other people to win, and the Falcons came up short on opening night in a 52-44 loss to visiting Davie County.
Hall scored half of West’s points, and Taylor Martin came through with 10, but when Shanice Miller went down with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter, West was in trouble.
Buckets by Miller and Hall had put West ahead 31-28, but then Miller’s night was suddenly over. She had to be helped off the court.
“That really hurt us,” Poole said. “It was big. We had some momentum when she got hurt.”
Davie has good size, with three legitimate post players in Asiah Peterson (14 rebounds), Ashlyn Hampton (13 points and Ivey Carney (eight points, nine rebounds)
West’s starting lineup has no size to speak of, so Poole’s plan was to apply so much pressure defensively that Davie would turn it over before it could locate its big people in the paint.
“We were aggressive and the press worked very well for us,” Poole said. “At least it worked for three-quarters of the game.”
Hall, who worked in the offseason a lot on her shooting, hit a jumper with seven minutes left for a 36-34 West lead, but that was the Falcons’ last one.
“We played hard,” Hall said. “But they were big. It surprised us how big they were.”
Davie point guard Madison Zaferatos scored two of her 12 points as the War Eagles beat the press and tied the game 36-all, and her bucket triggered a decisive 11-0 run.
Davie’s tall people would key that surge.
“We’d talked about it all game that we had an advantage inside and needed to use it more,” new Davie coach Dave Ruemenapp said. “I think there in the fourth quarter Madison was able to calm things down, we slowed down a little bit, and we started getting the ball inside.”
Hampton produced a three-point play to put Davie up 39-36, Hampton hit two free thows, and then Carney scored off a steal. Then a stickback by Hampton put the War Eagles up by nine at 45-36, and it was just a matter of running out the clock.
Makayla Bohannon knocked down foul shots at the end as Davie put it away.
“I think we had a lot of first-game jitters,” Ruemenapp said. “But I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good. It was back and forth a long time, and I can’t tell you why it took us so long to take control, but when we did, I saw a lot of good things.”
Hall made two 3-pointers. Martin was a gnat on defense and got five of her points at the foul line.
West won’t have long to worry about starting 0-1.
The Falcons play at Salisbury tonight.
“Good or bad, it’s only one game,” Poole said. “We just have to learn from it , and get back out there tomorrow.” •
NOTES: Poole was Ashley Boulware when she started for Salisbury’s strong 1995 championship team that was led by Donna Carr, Carmen Weldon and Devin Dixon.
DAVIE (52) — Hampton 13, Zaferatos 12, Carney 10, Bohannon 9, Peterson 4, A. Peebles 2. C. Peebles 2.
WEST (44) — Hall 22, Martin 10, S. Miller 7, Q. Miller 5, Alessandrini, Cowan, Yow, Freeze.
Davie 14 9 11 18 — 52
West 7 15 11 11 — 44
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